New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino announced Tuesday in Albany that he will seek to form a Stop Common Core ballot line in his campaign to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
The current Westchester County executive, who has made the Common Core standards a major issue of his campaign for governor, said, “It’s about making a major statement in this state … that the Common Core is not what people think it is.”
Astorino observed that the New York State Board of Regents was already on its way to implementing rigorous educational standards when the state was lured into the Common Core by hundreds of millions of dollars in funding “dangled” in front of it by the federal government.
According to The Buffalo News, Astorino wants to give voters the chance to send their message about ridding New York’s schools of the controversial initiative. In addition, the effort would give him a third ballot line – in addition to Republican and Conservative – in his campaign against the Democrat governor.
“Astorino is clearly hoping to tap into a high-profile issue that is on the minds of parents and teachers throughout New York,” says The Buffalo News.
The father of three young children who will all be in elementary school this fall, Astorino described the Common Core as an already proven “failure both for students and teachers.” He said he has seen the impact of Common Core on his own children, noting the fact that their school district spent six weeks preparing for the Common Core-aligned tests during the past school year, cutting into time for art, gym, and other classes.
As Breitbart News reported in March, Astorino and his wife opted their children out of the state’s Common Core-aligned assessments:
Astorino dismissed the notion that criticism of the Common Core means a lack of concern for educational standards. That claim, he said, is “meant to cover up what has been a disaster.”
Observing that the state’s Regents diploma was once “the gold standard” in the nation, Astorino said Common Core has undermined the reputation of a New York education and that Gov. Cuomo’s support of the nationalized standards means that “he owns it. It’s his.”
“Obviously Cuomo’s Common Core has been a disaster. The rollout and implementation speak for themselves on how bad it’s been,” Astorino said during the press conference. “But even once the implementation is rolled out some years in the future, we’re still left with Common Core, which I oppose, and it’s something we should get out of and I will get out of when I become governor next year.”
This year, New York State, with Cuomo’s approval, has delayed the timetable for when standardized test scores will be used to evaluate students on grade advancement and teachers on job performance.
The Republican candidate says the Common Core is one of three major topics raised by voters in his state, the other two being New York’s high tax levels and the controversial Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.
The Stop Common Core ballot line effort, which was officially launched Tuesday and requires at least 15,000 registered voters in New York, would add another minor party line to the ballot for statewide candidates. The slate for the proposed line would feature all the statewide Republican candidates.